The retail world has been an evolving landscape for the past decade. So has the world of consumer packaged goods. With the onset of the pandemic, shopper behavior continued to evolve at an exponential pace, with new factors coming to the forefront, including a whole new level of contemplation about life and how to live, work and survive at home. From a greater focus on wellness and healthy living to sustainability, the pet adoption boom and a conscious consumer mindset, people were looking deeper at the brands they were buying and the impact of the products they were selecting for themselves and their families. This shift in priorities set the stage for a host of emerging CPG brands to enter the space. While some of these brands have been finding a place in their market categories for numerous years, several are more recent introductions. Here’s our roundup of the emerging brands you may want to keep track of this year.
Spot & Tango
When it comes to furry friends, consumers are happily investing in their health and well-being. The pet adoption boom in 2020 spurred a spike in pet care industry sales, which show no signs of slowing down. The ongoing humanization of pets is a clear trend, with owners exploring premium food selections — like Spot & Tango — for their fur babies.
Russell Breuer and his wife Molly started Spot & Tango in their kitchen, preparing fresh meals from scratch (from family recipes) for their dog, Jack. They wanted to provide the very best nutrition for their pet, so Spot & Tango came to life with the goal of improving the lives of pets and their parents.
Spot & Tango recipes incorporate real food locally sourced from farms and human-grade suppliers in the U.S. The recipes are made with 12 simple ingredients (UnKibble has 14 ingredients). There are no artificial ingredients — no powdered meat meals, no artificial additives or preservatives, and no soy, wheat, gluten, antibiotics or GMOs.
Fresh and UnKibble are the two types of food offerings. With the Fresh recipes, customers receive a customized meal plan for their dog, so the food supports their weight, breed and dietary needs. This line appeals to pet parents looking to serve the freshest food possible, and it is a good alternative for picky eaters and aging dogs.
The UnKibble option (approximately 40% less expensive than other fresh options on the market) utilizes a “Fresh Dry” process, whereby fresh, whole food ingredients are combined and then chilled, so the water can be extracted in a unique low-pressure environment. This method yields minimally processed, shelf-stable food with only human-grade ingredients.
“Spot & Tango is a mission-driven brand,” says Breuer. “We believe that pet health and wellness is a right, not a luxury. We’re constantly working to introduce new recipes and products to meet customers’ needs.”
Category: Household Cleaning Products
COVID-19, combined with extreme weather conditions, has consumers re-evaluating cleanliness as well as their environmental footprint. Market reports indicate the global household cleaning products category is positioned for growth.
Enter Dropps, an eco-friendly household cleaning brand that pioneered the original laundry detergent pod in 2006. The company is committed to effective, eco-responsible and convenient products, with a goal to simplify life for people and the planet. The brand provides ingredient transparency, maintains high sourcing standards, uses eco-responsible packaging and is manufactured in the U.S.
In 2017, Dropps was awarded the EPA Safer Choice Partner of the Year by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In 2020 as the company was experiencing record-breaking growth, it updated its brand identity to support future success, including the expansion into other areas of home with reusable Swedish dishcloths, seasonal scents and Active Wash laundry detergent pods.
“Dropps is remaking cleaning for good. Our purpose is to make life simple — for both people and planet,” said Jonathan Propper, founder and CEO of Dropps, in a media release. “We are driven to make life easier for individuals and families, and to do the right thing by providing everyday products that are both eco-responsible and economical, which, if multiplied across a multitude of individuals and families, can have a measurable impact on the planet.”
Category: Household Cleaning Products
Blueland is another brand providing cleaning solutions with an eco-responsible mindset.
According to the Blueland website, since 2019 the brand’s products have helped eliminate more than 1 billion single-use plastic bottles from landfills and oceans. The brand story is expressed as “a cleaner planet starts at home.” That is where the journey started for CEO and Co-Founder Sarah Paiji Yoo. As a new mom, she was overwhelmed to learn about all of the single-use plastic being thrown away — and wanted to do her part to make a difference.
The basics of the system is purchasing a “Forever Bottle” once, and then refilling it with water and the appropriate cleaning or soap tablet. According to the company, the refill tablets are more than 30 times smaller than the average cleaner. And the reusable Tritan and glass Forever Bottles are BPA- and antimony-free. In addition to the brand’s bottles, shakers and tins, the company uses recyclable shipping boxes, paper-based tape, compostable refill packaging, no single-use plastic and water-based inks. Blueland is B Corp and Cradle to Cradle Certified. The brand has been carbon neutral since 2020 and was Climate Neutral Certified as of 2021.
Consumers have a whole new perspective on health and wellness. From physical fitness and mental health to proper immune system support and smart dietary choices, there is a desire to stay as healthy as possible — and a growing interest in supplements.
Goli Nutrition is the creator of the Apple Cider Vinegar Gummy — a patented formula that combines apple cider vinegar with vitamins B9 and B12 to help support immune health, cellular energy production, heart health, a healthy nutrient metabolism, a healthy nervous system and overall good health, according to the company. Goli Nutrition’s products are non-GMO, vegan, gluten-free, unfiltered, gelatin-free and free of chemicals and artificial ingredients.
The brand touts itself as a people-focused nutrition company aimed at providing products to support sustainable wellness. In that spirit, Goli Nutrition partners with Vitamin Angels to combat childhood malnutrition. Each purchase of Goli Gummies provides a 1-for-1 vitamin grant to provide a child in need with a six-month supply of vitamins.
While there are many consumers who are dedicated brand fans of their favorite soda, the focus on health and wellness translates into exploring options for drinking habits.
Olipop is a fast-growing functional beverage brand, co-founded by Ben Goodwin and David Lester, focused on bringing the benefits of digestive health to a mass audience. It is a clinically backed beverage designed to bring fiber back into American’s diet. According to data shared by Olipop, humans used to get 150 grams of fiber a day compared to now only 16 grams of fiber. In combating this “fiber gap,” Olipop is said to so far have contributed more than 75 million grams of fiber to the American diet.
Olipop is made with “OLISMART,” a blend of eight unique botanicals, plant fibers and prebiotics. It comes in six flavors: Vintage Cola, Strawberry Vanilla, Orange Cream, Classic Root Beer, Ginger Lemon and Cherry Vanilla. The brand is bringing consumers soda with digestive health benefits and, according to company-released information, the refrigerated beverage has yielded 6x retail door growth and 10x revenue growth.
Another brand that emerged out of a personal journey, founder Kurt Seidensticker was looking for a product to support his joint health after experiencing knee discomfort from running. Learning about ingestible collagen changed his approach to diet, and he launched Vital Proteins in 2013. The brand offers a wide range of premium collagen products with the goal of helping people live fuller, more vibrant lives. The premium collection of collagen products includes a selection of powders, supplements, drinks and gummies, designed to help people “reach their full potential and upgrade their wellness routines.
Category: Beverage (Hard Kombucha)
JuneShine was founded by former college roommates Forrest Dein and Greg Serrao to be a new type of alcohol brand — a product to support healthy, active lifestyles without sacrificing flavor and fun. It is brewed with real, organic ingredients and no artificial coloring, GMOs, pesticides or processed corn rice or syrup: just green tea, honey, fruit juice, spices and a jun kombucha base.
According to JuneShine, it is recognized as the No. 1 hard kombucha brand in the U.S. with more than 10 million cans sold. The refreshing beverage is 6% ABV and approximately 145 calories per can (only 2-3 grams of sugar per can). It comes in flavors such as Grapefruit Paloma, Midnight Painkiller and Blood Orange Mint.
The brand is also committed to environmental consciousness. In partnership with Climate Neutral, JuneShine is 100% carbon neutral, and also donates 1% of all sales annually to 1% For The Planet, a collection of environmental nonprofits working to fight climate change.
Category: Personal Care (Hair)
With the breadth of emerging beauty brands recently, it is clear that consumers want products that address their unique personal care needs. A slew of newcomers are not only delivering a customized experience, but they’re doing so with a conscience.
Aunt Jackie’s believes better products support better hair. The brand’s products are sulfate- and paraben-free and contain no mineral oil or petrolatum. The products utilize eco-friendly preservatives to deliver high-quality, sustainable products with long shelf lives. From customized product regimens to a supportive Curl Clique community platform, Aunt Jackie’s is committed to “providing high-quality products for textured hair that help women and families embrace their natural curls, coils and waves to achieve healthy hair.”
Category: Cannabis Beverage
Cann is a cannabis-infused social tonic created by Jake Bullock and Luke Anderson in 2018. Another innovative garage startup story, the brand describes the product as “the future of social drinking.”
As an alternative to alcohol, one of the promoted benefits is a similar buzz without a hangover in the morning. Made from five simple, natural ingredients, it comes in flavors such as Lemon Lavender, Blood Orange Cardamom and Grapefruit Rosemary. In addition to all-natural flavors (not from concentrate), it is lightly sweetened with a touch of agave. It has no gluten, no Stevia and is non-GMO.
This cannabis-in-a-can product offers consumers a micro-dose of 2MG THC. It gives partygoers and happy hour patrons a buzzworthy option free of alcohol (according to the company, effects can be felt within 10 minutes, but also tend to subside at a faster rate, approximately an hour).
Category: CBD Beverage
In 2020, Canopy Growth Corp. launched Quatreau, a premium ready-to-drink, CBD-infused sparkling water, in the U.S. market after a successful rollout in Canada. Quatreau is described as a functional zero-sugar drink that is a natural low-calorie beverage alternative. It is a sparkling water with 20 milligrams of premium, U.S. grown hemp-based CBD in four flavors: Cucumber + Mint, Passionfruit + Guava, Ginger + Lime and Blueberry + Acai.
“We have proven our beverage strategy in Canada, where we are currently the market share leaders in CBD-infused, ready-to-drink beverages,” said Canopy Growth President and Chief Product Officer Rade Kovacevic in a media release. “Beverages are fueling growth in the CBD category, and we believe this product will resonate with U.S. consumers looking for a naturally flavored, zero-sugar option.”
Category: Men’s Personal Care
Dr. Squatch is “raising the bar on men’s personal care products.” The brand boasts natural products — formulated specifically for the needs of men — with no harmful ingredients. Founder and CEO Jack Haldrup brought Dr. Squatch to market due to his own skin condition, psoriasis. While he finally found a natural soap at a farmer’s market that worked for him, he wanted to create something more accessible and made for men. The Dr. Squatch product line includes bar soaps, hair care, deodorant and toothpaste. The brand offers a variety of scents, such as Pine Tar, Fresh Falls, Bay Rum, Wood Barrel Bourbon, Cedar Citrus, Grapefruit IPA and Cold Brew Cleanse.
The Versed mission is to “make good skin and clean products for all.” The products are formulated to the highest European Union standards, avoiding more than 1,350 toxins and questionable ingredients. In addition, the brand is committed to reducing waste, lessening its carbon footprint and playing its role in preserving Earth’s ecosystems. The brand promises to keep things real, “high-performance, not hype.” This includes being a source of information and expertise. The website offers an extensive Ingredient Glossary as part of its “The Good Skin Blog” and numerous ways to give customers personal attention — from prescriptive icons and a Skin Decoder quiz to a DM and text message-based Skin Hotline.
Category: Food (Baby)
Looking for baby brain food? Dr. Teresa Purzner, a neurosurgeon and mom with a PhD in Development Neurobiology was looking for the right baby food for the first of her three children. The available options were lacking the daily value of nutrients she believed were important for the growth of a baby’s brain — for her children and kids everywhere. She partnered with her brother and tapped into a team of world-class pediatricians, nutritionists and food scientists to create Cerebelly, a product line that provides 16 key nutrients for the growing brain. The brand believes there is a better way to nourish children, so “Cerebelly unites neuroscience, nutrition and organic, farm-fresh food to give them the very best from the very start.”
Function of Beauty
Category: Personal Care (Shampoo/body wash/skin)
Launched in 2015, Function of Beauty offers customizable hair, skin and body care products. In addition to the company’s commitment to be clean, ethical and sustainable, the brand is socially conscious with a mission of supporting women and girls in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics). A distinctive detail of the startup story was the decision to build its own state-of-the-art factory (in Catawissa, Pennsylvania) in order to be able to create its customized products at scale. It has since expanded with a second facility in Paxinos, Pennsylvania. Cruelty-free and 100% vegan, the brand currently uses more than 60 natural ingredients to create custom formulas — products free of sulfates, parabens and phthalates. The website has a running tabulation (with a last seen total) of 87,221,245,070,160 unique formulas.
Category: Personal Care/Cleaning (Baby)
In addition to what’s best for our bodies and our pets, brands are tapping into what is best for babies.
Celebrities Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard co-founded the premium and affordable baby product line Hello Bello with Sean Kane, Jay McGraw and Jennifer Pullen. Launched in February 2019, the brand aims to give parents the best products for their kids at a budget-friendly price. Hello Bello manufactures and distributes products such as diapers, wipes, toiletries and cleaning supplies — more than 100 family essentials. The brand is committed to creating products that are good for babies, parents and the planet. According to its mission statement, “We believe in premium for all because every baby deserves the best.”
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